More than half of the knit sweaters sold nationwide are incorrectly labeled as to the type of material used in production, according to a recent round of inspections by the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection.
Officials recently purchased 20 knit sweaters from hypermarkets, department stores and retail chains and found that 12, or 60 percent, were not made from the materials specified on the product label.
All the products which were in violation of the Commodity -Labeling Act (商品標示法) were manufactured in China, the bureau said.
Many of the mislabeled products claimed to contain a high percentage of natural fibers, such as wool, allowing for higher prices. In reality, the sweaters were made using cheaper synthetic materials, such as acrylic and nylon.
A Tai Yu brand sweater manufactured in China and sold at a luxury outerwear store in Greater Taichung claimed to contain 80 percent cotton and 20 percent acrylic. However, tests showed the sweater was actually made of 30.3 percent nylon and 69.7 percent rayon.
Another sweater, from the RICO brand which was also made in China, claimed to be made from 65 percent cotton and 35 percent polyester material. Inspections showed it only contained 19.5 percent cotton, while the rest was comprised of the cheaper polyester material.
Even well known brands such as Hang Ten made the list of mislabeled products, while high-end items, such as a sweater by Royal Queen’s Polo Team which retails for NT$1,080, also contained faulty labeling, as smaller quantities of wool were used than claimed by the manufacturer.
All sub-standard clothes were ordered to be taken off the shelves and the manufacturers were put on a watch list to either make improvements or face fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$300,000, the bureau said.
Bureau deputy director-general Huang Lai-ho (黃來和) said an easy way to test knitted sweaters at home was to take a small sample of fiber from the clothing and burn it. Synthetic fiber will burn quickly and leave a black, hard residue, but will not continue burning if it is removed from the flame.
On the other hand, 100 percent cotton will catch fire quickly and continue burning even if taken away the flame, producing a smell of burned paper and leaving white, soft ashes.
Since customers cannot use the fire test in stores, the bureau said they should carefully inspect the product label to determine whether the information is complete and avoid purchasing clothes that give off an acrid odor.